Living Legends

Room review: Living Legends: Jeremiah’s Manor

This review is left here merely as a record.

Their description: As psychic investigators of great renown, we often received pleas for help, but none as wretched as the one we received from Jeremiah a week ago.

The poor soul was due to be married to his beloved, but tragedy struck and she was murdered. He reports strange sounds from his Manor, and he suspects something is afoul in his house. The police have come and gone, yet were not able to determine the cause of it all.

The wretched man is haunted by the thought of this and all but begged for our help.

Two things set Jeremiah’s Manor apart: its story-driven nature, and its attention to atmosphere and setting.

There’s a well-woven plot that you’ll have to unravel, with dramatic climaxes and even multiple endings. If you care about escape room narratives, you have to play this room. Simple as that. (The generous 90-minute runtime also allows you to savour the plot rather than rushing through.)

As for the atmosphere and setting, comparisons have been drawn with Encounter’s The Apartment. Unfortunately, this gave me unrealistic expectations. An important difference is verisimilitude: what makes The Apartment so effective is that it faithfully recreates the familiar setting of an HDB flat. Although Jeremiah’s Manor has relatively high production values, it’s much harder to replicate the feel of an old manor — so adjust your expectations accordingly.

What Jeremiah’s Manor might lack in physical realism, it makes up for in atmosphere and special effects. The use of magical investigative ‘equipment’ (you’ll see) to progress through the room is a fun and original touch, contributing to the sense of immersion.

Though eerie at times, this isn’t a horror room. Living Legends offers three modes: Easy (normal experience, easier puzzles), Normal, and Nightmare (more intense experience, normal puzzles). My team played on Nightmare mode, but even the more cowardly of us didn’t find it that scary. If you’re interested in playing but can’t bear horror, you should be fine on Normal mode. But if you can, you really should play on Nightmare mode, as that gives the richest experience…

…which is important because Jeremiah’s Manor shines chiefly as an experience, more than as a collection of puzzles. Granted, the puzzles are well-integrated into the plot and generally rigorous. Some are pleasingly multilayered, particularly near the end. But an early puzzle feels unoriginal, a late one features some ambiguity and red herrings, and in general the puzzles — although solid — are not the highlight.

Treat Jeremiah’s Manor as a real-life adventure rather than a regular escape room, and you’ll get the most out of the experience. RECOMMENDED as a great overall experience; HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you care about narrative.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 4/5
Storyline integration: 5/5

Their suggested number of players: 4 to 8
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5